3 Pier Challenge: Worthing runners step up for epic sea swim in aid of Turning Tides

Worthing runners stepped up for a new fitness challenge, taking them away from land and into the sea for an ambitious 10-mile swim in aid of Turning Tides.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 12:10 pm

Organiser Dominic Mason said it could not have gone better, with warm water and glorious sunshine as the team of ten made their way from Brighton Pier to Worthing Pier.

The epic swim last Saturday was a new experience for them, although they all run regularly, and it became a real collaborative adventure, with Sussex Yacht Club in Shoreham providing support boats and a medical team on hand.

Dominic said: “We were absolutely spoiled. It was lovely and warm, 19 degrees in the sea, the sun was out and the wind was behind us. It is one of the best events I have ever done.

The sea swimmers and their supporters

“What really pleased me was every one of the volunteers who signed up at the start stuck with it and took part on the day.”

The team included members of Tuff Fitty Triathlon Club and Goring Road Runners, brought together by the idea of doing a big sea swim for charity.

Dominic said it was an incredible experience and they were delighted to smash their £3,000 target, with £3,775 raised to date.

He added: “After about three or four minutes in the water, you just put your head down and get on with it. You have got tons of time to look around you and enjoy the view.

Powering past West Pier in Brighton, en route to Worthing

“Then you get into a Zen state. There is a big period of enjoying it but the hardest thing is that you do get bored and you don’t feel like you are getting anywhere.”

Among the swimmers was Mark Bailey, who has been volunteering for Turning Tides for several years. He said he knew the challenge would be fun and tough in equal measure.

He added: “To know that we are raising money to support anyone that finds themselves homeless gives it real meaning. We are physically fit but had never swam any long lengths at all, so this was a real massive physical challenge.

“However, anyone going through homelessness faces far bigger fears. Turning Tides makes sure that no one goes through that alone. Raising money to ensure that no one has to face those fears alone makes me even more determined.”

Moira Gardner, community groups fundraising officer at Turning Tides, said: “Last year, Turning Tides supported a record number of more than 900 local people with no safe place to call home. This year, the numbers are rising as the economic impact of Covid takes livelihoods and homes. So now more than ever we need the support of our community.”

Dominic ran team training sessions in the sea at Goring and in Shoreham Harbour, and there was additional pool training to build up stamina.

The aim is to repeat the 3 Pier Challenge next year, with a team of 20 swimmers, and maybe even organise a longer swim out to the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm.